The first of two production-ready, all-new Boeing T-X aircraft took to the air over St. Louis, Missouri, yesterday. Both aircraft were built by Missouri’s highly-skilled advanced manufacturing workforce at the Boeing Defense, Space and Security facilities in St. Louis.
“We went from [critical design review] to first flight in 12 months. We don’t do that very much at the Boeing Company,” Boeing’s program manager for the T-X, Ted Torgerson told Defense News. “I don’t want to say it has not been done, but for a manned aircraft to go through a complete production-ready design, that is as fast and as efficient as we’ve ever been through it.”
Boeing’s first test flight was a 55-minute flight for Boeing test pilots Steven Schmidt and Dan Draeger. The team took the plane up to 10,000 feet and hit speeds of 231 knots (265 miles per hour) while running handling checks on the twin-tail, single-engine jet.
“I’ve been a part of this team since the beginning, and it was really exciting to be the first to train and fly,” Schmidt told Defense News. “The aircraft met all expectations. It’s well designed and offers superior handling characteristics. The cockpit is intuitive, spacious and adjustable, so everything is within easy reach.”
“It was a smooth flight and a successful test mission,” Draeger, who rode shotgun in the instructor’s seat, said in an official release. “I had a great all-around view throughout the flight from the instructor’s seat, which is critical during training.”
The single-engine trainer is designed specifically for the U.S. Air Force’s training requirements. The second T-X aircraft is expected to take flight in early 2017.
To learn more about Missouri’s strengths in advanced manufacturing, including our leadership in the aerospace and defense sector, visit our advanced manufacturing network section.